The international athletics summer season continues to build momentum with a stellar line-up of top British middle-distance runners due at the Watford Grand Prix for the latest British Milers Club event. Ticket information below.
NEWSFLASH: CONGRATULATIONS to all the winners at the 2022 Watford Grand Prix led by Brazilian Tatiane Da Silva who set a new national and South American record of 9:24.38 in the women’s 3000m steeplechase, which also broke the BMC record for the event. Calli Thackery’s victory in the women’s 5000m saw her run a PB of 15:06.26 to go inside the GB qualifying standards for the World and European Championships as well as the Commonwealth Games. Meanwhile in the men’s races Piers Copeland – returning after a broken elbow suffered in May – claimed victory in the 1500m in a time of 3:40.22, while Irishman David English came out on top in the 800m catching Watford-born GB international Kyle Langford on the finishing straight. Stay tuned here for news of the 2023 event as soon as it’s announced.
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Ahead of a huge summer of athletics – featuring the World Championships in Oregon in July shortly followed by the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham with the European Championships in Munich taking place after that – the Watford Grand Prix will give fans a close-up view of many of the country’s best 800m, 1500m and 5000m runners in pursuit of qualification times as they vie for selection to the GB team. And with World Athletics having incorporated the event into their World Series Tour, expect an added international flavour to the athletes on show.
Today’s event in Watford is the third leg of the British Milers Club (BMC) season which started on 14 May in Birmingham and continues on to Trafford, Manchester on 23 July ahead of the final at Loughborough on 27 August.
The action at the Watford Grand Prix starts at 5.30pm and will feature races across 800m, 1500m, 5000m and the 3000m steeplechase.
ONES TO WATCH
Olympian Jessica Judd, fresh from her victory in the Night of the 10k PBs, drops down in distance to race in the women’s 1500m A Race at 8pm. Rising Scottish star Jenny Selman and Ellie Baker – 4th in the 800m at last year’s European indoor championships – are also in the field.
In the men’s 800m A Race at 6.34pm Watford-born GB international Kyle Langford, currently fifth on the 2022 UK Rankings over 800m, returns from a successful spell racing in America and is sure to get big support from the local athletics fraternity. Scotland’s Guy Learmonth will be a major threat for the win, as will be 19-year-old Reece Sharman-Newell who is the fourth fastest 800m runner in Britain this year after setting a personal best of 1:45.56 in America.
2022 Men’s National Cross Country Championship winner Mahamed Mahamed looks to transfer his form on the mud to the track in the men’s 5000m A Race at 9.45pm, while Samantha Harrison is the athlete to beat in the women’s 5000m A Race at 9.27pm after her recent victory at the Comeback 5000 meeting in London where she set a PB of 15:32.07.
🎟️ Tickets in advance for the Watford Grand Prix at £6 are off-sale. Price on the day is £10. Free entry for Under 12s.
🕒 Watford Grand Prix timetable – First race is at 5.30pm with the final race at 9.45pm. First ‘A Race’ is the men’s 3000 metres steeplechase at 5.50pm. Timetable can be viewed in full here.
🏃♀️🏃 Startlists – View in full are here.
The BMC has promised the 2022 Saucony Grand Prix season will be better than ever this year. Speaking ahead of the first Grand Prix to be staged at Birmingham University in May, CEO Tim Brennan confirmed that an exciting package of prize money adds up to the most lucrative in the history of the BMC. “The prize fund for each of the five meetings, culminating in the final at Loughborough, now stands at between £16,000 and £22,000 which incorporates improved prizes at all levels for men and women. We have increased our prize money with a top prize of £1,500 now,” said Brennan.
“The thinking behind that is not only to encourage people to run fast but also to show the best British runners that there is no reason to go abroad to chase those times.
“We are very competitive with other meetings and furthermore we also pride ourselves in providing excellent pacemaking and well organised meetings with proper seeding and all races being held on time.
“Those things are very important to us. The athletes are the focus of what we do at the BMC.”
“Following its success in 2021 the innovative points series, which proved to be very popular, has been retained and will again offer a top prize of £1,000 for the most consistent results in three of the Grand Prix events. Plus the Best of British prize scheme will again support the best domestic athletes if they find themselves edged out by strong overseas competition.
“We had great feedback from the points series initiative last season and clearly those athletes who may have just missed out on a major championships had an extra incentive to keep their season going until the Grand Prix final,” added Brennan.
“In 2021 the final £1,000 prizes were only decided in that final with Ellie Baker and Tom Randolph delighted to collect the biggest pay days of their careers so far.
“We will keep the Best of British especially as we anticipate more overseas entries this summer as athletes base themselves here especially in preparation for the Commonwealth Games,” explained Brennan.
“Last summer due to the pandemic we largely had British fields but already this year we have seen a lot more interest from overseas in the Saucony Grand Prix Series so that is very exciting.
“And with qualification deadlines for the major championships spread across the summer the first four Grand Prix meetings should all be highly relevant as runners chase times.”
“The overseas interest in the Watford Grand Prix, in particular, has been reflected by World Athletics incorporating the event into their World Series Tour, which again is another example of the BMC breaking new ground.”
🚊🚗 Travel tips: If using public transport Garston Station is nearest railway station to the stadium. Plan your journey using the Transport for London website. If travelling by car from the west leave the M25 at Junction 19, then more or less straight over at roundabout onto A41 (direction: London and St Albans). Left at next junction (about half mile) to follow A405 towards St Albans for 1½ miles. Turn Left at traffic lights (pub – a Harvester – on far left corner) into Horseshoe Lane, Woodside Stadium is on the left after less than ½ mile. From the east, come off the M25 at Junction 21A. Turn Left onto A405. After 1½ miles turn right at traffic light into Horseshoe Lane, with pub/restaurant on your right at the junction. From the North use the M! and leave at Junction 6. Turn Left (almost doing full circle) onto A405 bound for Watford. After less than a mile TR into Horseshoe Lane as for M25 from east.